What Is Sikhism?
Known as Sikhi or Sikh Dharma, this religion grew out of the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak and nine other Sikh gurus. They practice a militant tradition, believe that God lives within everyone, and practice community service. This article explains what Sikhism is all about. What is it? Why is it popular? And what is its difference from other religions? Read on to learn more!
Sikhs are a community of fighters
Though a small minority in India, Sikhs are an integral part of the nation's identity. During British colonization, Sikhs were prominent soldiers in the army and used their British citizenship to migrate to other countries. In the decades before India's independence, elected provincial governments began to exercise greater power in the country. During this time, Sikhs called for boundary changes that would exclude areas populated by Hindus and increased Sikh representation in Parliament. But these proposals were ignored by the predominantly Muslim unionist party that ruled Punjab. Despite this, the Sikh community still remains a highly significant minority within India, making Punjab a major battleground.
Despite their community-oriented attitude, Sikhs are notorious for their violent tendencies. While Sikhism is a religion of peace, it is forged through community service and self-defense. British Sikh authors have spent decades studying the history and culture of the Sikh martial tradition. Warrior Saints: Four Centuries of Sikh Military History delves into the origins and people who shaped the Sikh warrior culture. The book includes rare historical images and testimonies from across the globe.
The Sikh faith is based on a combination of Hindu and Sikh practices. It was the Muslim Moghuls who had initially ruled the Punjab region. Aurangazeb, an ardent fanatic, rabid Muslim, was known to harass non-Muslims. Guru Gobind's response to this violence was to create a community of fighters. To this end, he adopted the surname Singh while the women adopted the surname Kaur. As part of the Sikh community, men and women must follow the five k's - not wearing shoes, not cutting their hair, and wearing shorts.
The Sikh religion is founded on a tradition of combat. The Sikhs wear a number of symbols and tools to show their unity and resolve. The kanda (double-edged sword) is a metaphor for divine knowledge that separates truth from falsehood. The chakar, or circle without a beginning, represents the perfect form of God. Kirpans, or curved swords, symbolize the dual concepts of meeri and peeri, introducing the Sikhs to the world.
They practice militant tradition
Although there are many aspects of Sikhism that are regarded as militant, they do not adhere to a strict religious hierarchy. The Sikh panth is entirely lay, and there is no priesthood or central "church" with attendant religious hierarchy. The Guru Gobind Singh entrusted five Sikhs with the double-edged sword. They symbolically transferred authority to these five, who became responsible for conducting initiation ceremonies.
The Sikhs adhere to the tenets of human brotherhood, gender equality, and social justice. As such, the Sikh ethic is explicitly against caste discrimination. The Sikh religion also has a history of violence. However, this history does not justify the tenets of Sikh ideology, which is more about its political and social aspects than its religious beliefs. As a result, many Sikhs are now choosing to live life on the fringes of society in order to avoid persecution and hatred.
The Sikhs also recognize that all life is sacred, including humans. According to the Adi Granth, human life is the epitome of creation. It gives us an opportunity to remember the divine name. The five elements of creation are also sacred. The sun, moon, and stars protect life, and day and night are our guardians. Similarly, Sikhism considers protecting the environment as one of our sacred responsibilities.
Ultimately, it is the Sikhs who determine whether or not Sikhs practice the militant tradition. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, explicitly saw that violating the rights of others is morally wrong. In fact, Sikhs view justice as the practice of non-exploitation of others. A just person would never exploit someone. The same applies to begging. This is a very different view of human nature than what is generally considered acceptable.
The five marks Guru Gobind Singh chose as identifying signs for Sikhs are the turban, comb, and sword. In addition to identifying Sikhs, they also wear shorts and uncut hair. These are a clear statement of their commitment to their faith and values. In addition to the five marks, the Sikhs also adhere to a strict code of honor that encourages self-denial.
They believe that God is inside every person
According to Sikhism, God is inside every person and manifests as the sarguna (sacred name) of the created universe. God has created the world and each person in it. Therefore, the human being has a divine spark that needs to be fanned into a flame of goodness. Sikhism teaches that this divine spark has several names, most of which are action-related signifiers. God is often referred to as the father, mother, brother, lover, husband, and wife, which are all variations of "Sarguna," the Sikh term for God.
While the Sikh faith is based on the belief that God is inside every person, it also believes that all life emanates from God. God created the world, and he keeps it in existence. Because God has no physical body, he cannot be known through the five senses. Hence, God resides inside every person. All creation consists of God. If you are a Sikh, you are one of many Sikhs.
The Sikh faith originated five hundred years ago in Punjab, India. Its founder, Guru Nanak, preached the message of love and unity. Guru Nanak was a non-practicing Hindu, and was against worshipping idols and performing rituals. His teachings focused on bringing knowledge and love to people. Guru Nanak also emphasized that everyone has the potential to become the next Guru, and that God is inside every person.
Among Sikhs, God is inside every person. This belief is grounded in the idea that God is eternal and is not separated from anyone. The Sikh holy book is called the Granth Sahib. A Sikh gurdwara is a temple where Sikhs worship their guru. There, they offer food to non-Sikh visitors and welcome them as guests. It is also important for Sikhs to maintain a balance between their temporal and spiritual obligations.
They practice community service
Community service is one of the core beliefs of Sikhs and a vital part of Sikh life. From volunteering at the 9/11 terrorist attacks to cooking food for needy families in a local community kitchen, service is part of Sikh life. A recent project involved Euless Gurdwara Sangat's work with the Tarrant Area Food Bank. This organization provides fresh produce, uncooked vegetarian meals, and fruits and vegetables to low-income families.
In addition to its religious beliefs, Sikhs also put a high priority on education and community service. The Sikh community in Columbus, Ohio, includes a Guru Nanak Religious Society, which welcomes all people to its weekly Sangat. There are no formal ecclesiastical authority or priestly hierarchy, so decision making is a collaborative process. However, Sikhs are known for their adherence to the concept of nonviolence and peace, so their philosophy of nonviolence is often controversial.
Sikhs are known for their charitable works, and their Sikh Center in New York, for instance, recently prepared over 30,000 meals for citizens who were self-quarantining due to the novel coronavirus. While the Sikh faith encourages good deeds, the practice of community service has been criticized by some Sikhs, whose faith is not universally accepted by the public. However, the Sikh faith teaches us that we should continue doing good deeds even after we die.
The Sikh faith does not discriminate against gender, race, religion, or caste, and it practices a balanced lifestyle. For example, langars in Sikh gurdwaras are free public dining halls where Sikhs prepare and serve meals for everyone. It's a practice that is rooted in the Sikh tradition, which says that true religion is to serve the community.
Sikhs maintain five articles of faith. These are the turban, long hair, and the kara, or sword. The five Ks were chosen by Guru Gobind Singh to define his followers. Today, these items still serve as symbols of Sikh identity. These symbols serve to create a sense of community service and militant tradition. The Sikh community practices community service in a variety of ways, ranging from helping the homeless to building a school for the poor.